Moya Carter, assistant vice president and dean of students at Pitzer College, will leave Pitzer at the end of the semester after sixteen years as Director of Campus Life, Associate Dean of Students, and Dean of Students, according to a recent email from Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Carlisle. Carter, who is leaving Pitzer in order to pursue her PhD in higher education at Claremont Graduate University, sat down with TSL to reflect on her time at Pitzer, the changes she’s seen at the school, and her plans for the future.
TSL: Could you describe what the course of your career has been like at Pitzer?
Moya Carter: I’m so honored — I have worked with three supervisors, four presidents, and have had four promotions over the last 16 years. As Pitzer went through so many significant changes, I had the opportunity to operate within a lot of different departments, all within student affairs here. You’re rarely afforded that type of career trajectory all at the same location. I’ve been very, very honored to be here. I adore this place with my whole heart; I love Pitzer to pieces.
TSL: What is it that you love about it?
MC: The students. [Pitzer] attracts some remarkable students. Any student who really understand[s] that it’s not only permissible to question your leadership, but it’s your responsibility — I really gravitate toward that type of thought process. So the types of conversations I’ve been able to have, how engaged students are; if they’re upset with a policy, or asking questions, whatever the tone of the conversation was — I’ve always just really enjoyed how passionate our students are, how committed they are — how committed to being a part of a community Pitzer students are.
They’re so incredibly bright. Pitzer is definitely viewed as the least academic of the 5Cs, and that is not the case. Going to their research presentations, reading their senior theses; I’m about to participate in reading to their graduation speeches, for those who are applying to present their speech at commencement. It’s amazing work.
TSL: Why are you leaving?
MC: I’m leaving, primarily, because I’m at that final stage in my doctoral journey, where I have to really buckle down, and research, and write a dissertation.
TSL: What have been some of your favorite experiences throughout the course of your work at Pitzer?
MC: There have been so many; snackie snack is one.
TSL: What is that?
MC: Snackie snack is a weekly Tuesday night program, around 10 p.m., where students literally just come and eat a snack. And the conversations you get to have when you’re not dressed up for work, when you’re not in the confines of your office, have been wonderful.
TSL: What are some other programs?
MC: I did student activities and orientation here for about 10 of my 16 [years] here, and going on different programs with Pitzer students has been remarkable. All cheering together at Medieval Times, for example — silly funny stuff. But also participating in town hall meetings, to help make Pitzer a better place, those are intense, but so worthwhile. I’m also one of the deans that primarily works with students that are in distress, and helping students … and walking alongside them in their journey has been phenomenal.
TSL: What are some of the ways that you’ve seen Pitzer change throughout the years?
MC: Well, when I started in 2001, we accepted over 70 percent of students that applied. We’re down to 12 percent.
TSL: I know you’re not in admissions, but why do you think that is?
MC: I think under the tenure of President Laura Skandera Trombley, she really saw the potential that Pitzer had, and helped create situations where our exposure continued to rise, and therefore the types of applicants and the number of applicants we received followed suit. That might be an overly-simplified answer; admissions might have a better answer for that.